And Here Is Your Open Thread

debt collecting

The secret to Wilson’s success was that he knew how to find “crap,” as he called it. Instead of buying “fresh” paper directly from the banks — paper that just a few of the banks’ own collectors or subcontractors had tried to collect on — he looked for older paper that had been bought and sold many times over. He often bought credit-­card debt, for example, that had been sold off by the banks 10 or even 15 years ago. Old paper was much cheaper, but the trick was figuring out which portfolios had not been collected on efficiently and thus wrung dry. If you called the debtors from these sorts of portfolios and simply reminded them what they owed, they would often send you a check. “I am a bottom feeder,” Wilson said. “I specialize in finding paper that everyone else thinks is worthless.”

— From Jake Halpern’s New York Times Magazine piece on the dark, lucrative world of debt collection.

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